Montana Department of Agriculture logo

Peas, Dry Beans, Lentils & Chickpeas

2016 Year of Pulses logo

Montana's Pulse Power Play

Pulses are a leguminous crop that are harvested solely for the dry seed. Dried beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas are the most commonly known and consumed types of pulses. These little nutrition nuggets play a huge role in healthy diets in countries all over the world. They also are a powerful versatile crop the Montana farmers can use to promote biodiversity, improve soil health, and generate income from local and global markets.

  • Pulse Overview
  • Marketing & Production Info
  • Montana's Pulse Potential
  • Why Pulses Are Super Foods


  • Pulses are a source of plant based proteins, amino acids, antioxidants, fiber and essential nutrients like Iron, Potassium and Folate.
  • Pulses are low fat, cholesterol free, sodium free and gluten free.
  • When eaten regularly, pulses may help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.


  • Pulse crops utilize soil moisture efficiently. These crops require little (if any) nitrogen fertilizer; instead they fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.
  • Pulse crops help break disease and pest cycles in wheat and barley. When a wheat or barley crop follows a pulse crop it can experience substantial rotational benefits, improving yield and quality.
  • Pulse crops are versatile, drought-tolerant and frost-hardy, adding flexibility to cropping systems. If growing conditions turn dry, pulse crops can be harvested or grazed for forage or terminated to conserve soil moisture - the soil will still benefit from nitrogen fixation, rotation, and having a cover crop.
  • Graph: Pulse acreage in Montana growing over time, 2013-2016.


  • In Montana, farmers have incorporated pulse crops into their crop rotations to reduce the amount of land left fallow (idle). Pulse crop acres have increased from 350,000 in 2009 to over 800,000 in 2015.
  • In 2011, Montana took the lead in U.S. pulse crop acreage. As of today, Montana retains its leadership position in pulse production, selling markets through the nation and in India, Japan, and many other countries around the world.
  • Potential exists for substantial growth of the pulse industry in Montana in the coming years. If additional acres of pulse crops were grown on 25% of Montana’s fallow cropland (approximately 900,000 acres) the annual benefit to Montana's economy could exceed $240 million. As the pulse industry grows, Montana communities will benefit from job creation and increased economic activity resulting from additional in-state processing.

Because Montana’s economy, farmers, and communities have so much to gain from expanded pulse production, the Montana Department of Agriculture seeks to help increase growers’ understanding of pulse crops, marketing opportunities, and profit potential. The department works to attract more buyers and processors and encourage the expansion of existing companies, with the goals of increasing delivery points and in-state processing so that Montana farmers benefit from a strong marketplace.

Put Montana Pulses On Your Plate, In Your Field, and In Your Pocketbook Today!

International Year of Pulses

The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses.



Interested in buying pulse products from our Montana farmers? Check out the Montana's Pulse Potential tab to get connected with Pulse Farmers across the state of Montana.


Are you ready to incorporate pulses into your farm portfolio? Check out the Marketing & Production Info tab for information on how to make pulses part of your product diversification strategy.


Do pulses sound like a delicious way to improve your health? Check out the Why Pulses Are Super Foods tab to learn how to cook with pulses and make them part of your healthy lifestyle. Share your pulse pics, recipes, and more using these Pulse #Hastags: #lovepulses #IYP2016 #healthyeating #recipe #pulses #MTag

Montana Pulse Advisory Committee

The Montana Pulse Research & Market Development Program was created by a vote of Montana pea, lentil and chickpea producers following a process outlined in the

Grow Montana Pulses

The 5-year pulse crop projection chart for Montana.

Many factors are driving the growth of the pulse industry in Montana. One factor is improved availability of information. The links below provide access to a wide array of useful resources for pulse growers on the following topics: industry dynamics, market information, and crop production guidance.

Statistics show that the total acreage of chickpeas, dry peas, and lentils in Montana is expected to ride by nearly 1.5 million acres by 2019.

Along with acreage increase, we are also seeing a rise in revenue generation for farmers who are exporting pulse crops.

The market for pulse products is diverse and global. Montana currently exports whole pulses to countries such as India, Japan, and Pakistan where pulses are a major food staple. The properties of pulse ingredients open the doors wide to opportunities for product development as well. Pulses can be milled and separated (fractionated) into highly functional components (protein, fiber, and starch) utilized to enhance processed foods in domestic and global markets.

County Acreage Maps

To view pulse crop acreage at the county level categorized by crop type, click on the year's data you would like to review. The Montana Department of Agriculture created these maps using USDA Farm Service Agency reported acres data, and has access to this data for the past seven years. To see previous years data, please

We also compiled a nutritional analysis of yellow peas, as well as a finished feed analysis of yellow peas. The numbers speak for themselves! If you are interested in the nutritional content of other pulse crops,

Interested in accessing funds to determine if pulse products can increase your farm's bottom line? The Montana Pulse Advisory Committee manages a research and development program for pulse products in Montana.


Purchase Montana Pulses

While pulse crops have been grown in Montana for some time, production increased dramatically in the last decade to nearly 537,000 acres in 2012. In 2015, over 800,000 acres of pulse crops were planted and harvested, making Montana the #1 pulse crop producer in the United States.

Much of Montana’s pulse production occurs in Northeastern Montana, where farmers grow pulse crops on land previously left fallow (idle) for a season. The

Put Pulses on Your Plate

Pulse crops are super foods and super ingredients, delicious and nutritious in both their whole and processed forms. Pulses are a great way to add fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals to everyday foods at home, in school lunches, and on restaurant dishes.

Pulses represent an opportunity for culinary artisanry, from which European, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Asian cultures’ food traditions can be followed - or borrowed to create global fusion foods.

Utilization of pulse flours and fractionated pulse ingredients in food manufacturing is an emerging trend. Pulse ingredients are being utilized in an increasing number of products, including pasta, breakfast cereal, snack food, deep frozen dishes, dressings, extruded bakery products, cookies, crackers, sauces, instant soups, and puddings.

Cook with Pulses



Pulse Crop News

2017 Grown in Montana Magazine now available online and in print

Montana Pulse Advisory Committee Meeting Friday, April 7th

10:00 a.m. in Helena at the Montana Department of Agriculture (302 N. Roberts, Room 225)

Montana Pulse Advisory Committee Meeting Friday, April 7th

Helena, Mont. – The Montana Pulse Advisory Committee will meet at 10:00 am on Friday, April 7th in Helena at the Montana Department of Agriculture (302 N. Roberts) in room 225. An agenda will be posted on the Department’s website when it becomes available.

Agriculture: The backbone of Montana's Economy

Treston Vermandel
Eastern Business Development Specialist

Phone : (406) 860-7480


Agriculture Development
& Marketing Bureau

Montana Department of Agriculture
Phone : (406) 444-2402
E-mail :
Fax : (406) 444-9442
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601


Pulse Crop Forms & Files

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